Culture Wars/Current Controversies

South Carolina Bills Would Set the Foundation to Nullify Federal Mask or Vaccine Mandates

By: , Tenth Amendment Center

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Dec. 16, 2020) – Two bills introduced in the South Carolina House would ban the enforcement of any federal mask mandate and prohibit the state from taking any federal funding connected to a federal mask or vaccine mandate. Passage of these bills would set the stage to nullify any federal maks or vaccine mandates in practice and effect.

Rep. Stewart Jones (R-Laurens) filed House Bill 3126 (H3126) on Dec. 9. The legislation would ban the state or any of its political subdivisions from accepting federal funds “to enforce an unlawful federal mask mandate or unlawful federal vaccine mandate.” The bill includes a detailed definition of “unlawful” mandates that covers virtually any law, rule, regulation, or executive order from any agency or branch of the federal government.

Jones, along with Rep. Bill Chumley (R-Spartanburg) and Rep. Mike Burns (R-Greenville) introduced House Bill 3218 (H3218) the same day. The legislation would prohibit state and local officials in South Carolina from participating in the enforcement of “any unlawful federal mask mandate that violates the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.” “Unlawful federal mask mandate” is defined as “any federal law, order, rule, regulation, plan of action, or otherwise which requires a resident of the State of South Carolina to wear a face mask or other face-covering to minimize the spread of COVID-19 or any other infectious disease.” Any state or local official violating the law would be subject to a $2,000 fine.


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